Is it Helpful?
By: Jelayna Da Silva
Is it better to do one thing well, or several things all at once? I want to start a conversation about a subject that can’t really be figured out in a short magazine article; is hybrid yoga a good thing? Should we be blending HITT and pranayama? Is “Joga” an activity worth investing in? How practical is it to keep going to “yogilates”?
These are important questions. With the origins of yoga being based in the culture and religion of the East, with Hinduism at its roots, and an emphasis on meditation, is it helpful to blend these movements of modernity to a practice that has been around for centuries? It has stood the test of time for a reason. Does adding new things to the mix really make it better, or does it detract from its contemplative, less physical aspects?
Appropriation is a large part of the western world’s origins in colonization. Modern yoga has had its fair share of reckoning, and this reckoning will hopefully only continue into the future. Blended styles of movement and their potential physical and time-saving benefits aside, isn’t this act of combining the negation of one of yoga’s major tenets – do less to be more.
Within yoga, the practitioner is encouraged to focus on one thing at a time. One movement, one breath, one moment. It is a practice that helps a person hone in their capacity to relax, focus and breathe. By melding different forms of movement together and creating ways of moving that divide the attention and intention of the practice, it begs the question; is this defeating yoga’s central offering of simplification?
With that said, there are undeniable advancements in exercise science and our understanding of human physiology that have pushed yoga away from its sometimes arbitrary “alignment” cues. It has been helpful to question and challenge old ways of doing things, even though they’ve been done that way for thousands of years. If we don’t change and question old forms of belief or physical movement, then we stagnate or, in the case of yoga, end up with potential injuries.
These are questions that can’t be answered in a short article. But the questions still need to be asked. This is what matters most; feeling free and safe enough to ask these questions. To look at the way we practice something with a critical, yet respectful eye. To honour the roots of an ancient tradition while allowing its branches to continue growing in different directions.
If yoga asks us to focus and simplify, then quite simply let’s keep asking these questions as we look at the modernization of yoga with a critical and respectful eye. One that is looking back at tradition before running forward into newness.
After all, it’s best to do one thing at a time….
Jelayna Da Silva is a certified, passionate yoga teacher, currently offering public and private classes online to practitioners from all walks of life. With training in Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin and Meditation she firmly believes yoga is for everyone. jelaynayoga.com